May 19, 2014

Tiger at Congressional for Quicken Loans National Media Day

Still not sure when he will return to competitive golf, Tiger Woods was at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., on Monday for Media Day for the Quicken Loans National, June 23-29. He had surgery March 31 for a pinched nerve in his back and is patiently rehabbing until his doctors and trainers give him permission to begin hitting full shots. For now, he must be content to chip and putt.

“It’s not a lot of fun,” Woods said. “There are a lot of tedious exercises. It is slow, and I just have to make sure I do it right.”

A two-time winner and the event host, Tiger is delighted to welcome Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online retail mortgage lender, as the new title sponsor of the National. Now in its eighth year, more than $17 million has been raised from the tournament to help the Tiger Woods Foundation fund college-access programs, learning centers and grants for thousands of youth in the area.

“What we’ve done for the D.C. community and the military is very exciting,” he said. “Our programs continue to grow. It’s something we’re very proud of.”

The Tiger Woods Foundation now has three learning centers in the area, the most recent at the Marine Corps base at Quantico. There are also 25 DC-based Earl Woods scholars.

“We’re expanding and trying to help as many kids as we can,” Woods said.

Tiger doesn’t know if he will be ready to play in the Quicken Loans National but will attend regardless.

“That’s one of the more frustrating things,” he said. “There’s no date, no timetable. Just taking it day by day and trying to get stronger. I want to play today, and that’s just not going to happen.”

The tournament, which offers a purse of $6.5 million, has already received commitments from defending champion Bill Haas, former winner K.J. Choi and 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose. Also set to play are Lee Westwood, 2012 FedExCup winner Brandt Snedeker and rising young star Jordan Spieth.

Woods said he has passed the time by playing with his kids and improving his video-game skills. However, he misses the game a great deal.

“I miss being out there on the golf course,” Tiger said. “I miss hitting balls and just playing. I don’t know how many more weeks I can go at this pace, but at least I’m actually able to get out there and chip and putt.”

Asked how much time he would need to get his overall game in shape to compete again, Woods said, “I don’t think it would take more than a couple weeks. Now, how rusty am I going to be? The more time you give me, the better I’ll be.”

Tiger has not played since the last round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 9.

Woods expects to make a few changes with his training and swing.

“I’ve made adaptations over the years,” he said. “When I first came out on TOUR, I was running 30 miles a week, and I was doing that for years, and even during tournament weeks, I would still run five, six miles a day. But I can’t do that anymore. We’re obviously going to make some adjustments going forward. But I still want to feel explosive, I still want to feel strong and mobile, and I think with the team that I have around me, they’re fantastic. We’re certainly headed in the right direction now.”